Good Service is Good Business
By Catherine DeVrye
Anyone who thinks a customer isn't important just ought to try doing
without one for ninety days!
Yet, how often do some staff see customers as interruptions to their
day? Or slip into the trap of thinking customer service is just a few
smiles. Or, worse still, think serving another human being is beneath our
Smart businesses no longer regard customer service as the 'soft fuzzy
stuff' but a competitive edge that can yield tangible bottom line results!
There are many dictionary definitions of service. One defines service
'Being a servant to a master.' This implies subservience and as a
nation, any nation, we rightly abhor this notion. However, another
definition describes service as:
'To be useful'
If we adopt the latter definition, we will more readily embrace the
service culture required to be successful in the global economy. We have
moved from an industrial revolution to an information revolution and are
now in the midst of a service revolution. We ignore this at our peril!
We can no longer afford the arrogance of believing service is something
that happens in Third World countries; or that one enters a service
industry only as a means to an end, before obtaining a 'better' job.
We all need to adopt the definition of service as being useful and
feeling good about helping people. We need to be positive that we can give
service as good as any in the world. As a nation, we have genuine
friendliness, which far surpasses any superficiality of standard sayings
such as 'Have a nice day.'
Make sure that all your staff understand the important role they play
'being useful' to every customer who walks through your door.
The customer may not always be right but the customer is always ...
As we know, customers may not always be right in reality but we can
never argue with their perceptions of the service provided, because those
perceptions translate into bottom line results.
Everyone knows that margins are often tight but take a moment to
consider some research conducted by The Profit Impact of Marketing
Strategy, who surveyed users of over three thousand providers of goods and
services. Customers were asked whether they perceived the organisation as
a 'good service provider' or 'poor service provider.' Those results were
then matched with the actual financial performance of the organisation in
the market place. The findings were conclusive. The perceived good service
providers could charge an average of 9-10% more for the same basic good or
service! And, the perceived service leaders grew two times faster than
The word 'perceived' is an important one because there was no data to
determine whether the customer perceptions were, indeed, an accurate
barometer of the actual service levels. A customer only cares how they
feel they are personally treated in any given situation. No one ever said
customers were reasonable human beings!
So, just make sure that all of your staff realise that it's not the
boss who pays their salary but the customer, and you can never
Anyone who thinks a customer isn't important, just ought to try doing
without one for ninety days!
About the author: Catherine DeVrye is the author
of the #1 best seller 'Good Service is Good Business' and the newly
released inspirational gift book 'Hope Happens!…words of encouragement
for tough times'. Winner of the Australian Executive Woman of the Year
Award, she speaks internationally on managing change, customer service and
turning obstacles to opportunities. www.hopehappensnow.com
Phone: 61-2-9977-3177. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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